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Cyprus House President: no arbitration, no strict deadlines
2004-12-30 11:01:54

Nicosia, Dec 30 (CNA) -- The island's political leadership is not prepared to accept arbitration by third parties or strict deadlines with regard to any renewed effort for a political settlement in Cyprus, House President Demetris Christofias believes.

In statement to the press, he also said that Turkey must delivery good will messages if indeed it wants a solution in Cyprus and should this be the case, October 3 could be a landmark date.

Turkey is set to begin accession negotiations with the European Union on 3 October, EU leaders decided at their summit in mid December. They also called on Ankara to sign the protocol extending its customs union agreement with all ten new EU members, including Cyprus, which it does not recognize.

''We have to learn from our past experience and avoid past mistakes. My understanding is that National Council members have advocated, almost unanimously, that arbitration and tight deadlines cannot be accepted,'' he said, responding to questions.

He said that Turkey should give proof of its genuine desire for changes to the Annan plan (a UN solution plan the Greek Cypriots have rejected) that would be substantive and meet the expectations of the Greek Cypriot but also serve the interests of the island's two communities (Greek and Turkish Cypriot).

His comments came in the wake of statements by Turkish and Turkish Cypriots that not a single Turkish soldier will leave Cyprus before a settlement is reached and that Ankara has no intention of recognizing the Republic of Cyprus.

Meanwhile Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said today that the government continues to work towards the creation of those conditions that would justify the resumption of negotiations as soon as possible with a view at finding a bizonal bicommunal federation on the basis of a UN solution plan (the Annan plan).

He said this is a matter which the National Council, the top advisory body to President Tassos Papadopoulos on the handling of the question of Cyprus, will deal with.

The latest UN-led effort to find a negotiated settlement ended in failure following talks, carried out under tight dealines, that produced, through UN arbitration, a plan which 76 per cent of Greek Cypriots considered unfair and biased in favour of Turkey and consequently rejected in a referendum. The Turkish Cypriots approved the plan by 65 per cent.

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